Choosing a high quality boot that is perfect for what you need depends entirely on what you will be wearing them for and the environment in which they will be worn. You’ll want a different pair of boots if you’re going for a day hike in Florida than if you’re working security at an event in Los Angeles. For the former, you’ll probably want something somewhat lightweight and very waterproof, whereas in Los Angeles, waterproofing likely won’t be a concern unless you’re working on water mains. Brace yourself, we are going to discuss what the best army boots to buy are from our field tested experimentation and research.
At Authorized Boots, our goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive and honest boot reviews available online. On this page you will find our list of the "Best Army Combat Boots" of 2016. I hope our recommendations helps you find a new pair of boots.
Each combat boot listed below has already been vetted out for AR 670-1 compliance! (That's right, We got your back!)
Choosing the Best Army Combat Boots for your Needs
The weight of your boots should be the first thing you consider when thinking about a purchase. If you’re buying boots with the intention of spending a lot of time hiking or hunting, buying a pair of heavy-duty leather boots with a steel toe and high cut may not be the right decision. They may feel great when you first put them on, but by that fifth or sixth mile, you may as well have tied rocks to your feet. However, if you’re working construction or doing something where your feet need to be protected, those boots will be pretty much perfect.
Essentially, the more long distance running or walking you’ll be doing, the lighter you’ll want your boots to be. Likely, the best options on these will be synthetics and textile. Also, if you’ll be on lots of uneven terrain, you’ll definitely want to buy a boot that covers and supports your ankle, but you may not need boots that come up to your mid-calf. A solid pair of lightweight, authorized boots to take a look at are the Rocky C6 RLW. At only 18 ounces, and with a reinforced toe and heel, these water resistant boots are great for running and hiking long distances.
- AR 670-1 Compliant
What your boots are made of really comes down to a compromise between how much durability you need and how much weight you’re willing to deal with. Most boots made fully out of leather with rubber soles will be very durable and will last a lot longer than a nylon/textile blend. However, that nylon/textile blend won’t be nearly as heavy. Another factor to consider is cost. Generally, a genuine leather boot will be more expensive than a synthetic boot. If you can afford the added cost and need the extra durability, leather is the way to go. Otherwise, a synthetic leather or nylon, or a combination of the two may be a better bet.
- AR 670-1 Compliant
A good heavier duty boot for high durability is the Propper Series 100. It’s a heavier boot that offers a high level of protection with fast lacing eyelets and a very breathable mesh for a high level of comfort and protection.
C. Toe Style
An important feature to consider when purchasing boots is how much toe protection you need. A steel toe boot is going to keep you from injuring your toes by accidentally (or not) kicking something or dropping a cinder block on your foot. A soft toe boot won’t offer much in the way of protection. However, with a steel toe, you’ll be adding more weight to your boot and will be more susceptible to heat conduction in cold environments. Also, if you walk through metal detectors frequently on the job, steel toe is probably not the right option.
- AR 670-1 Compliant
But what if you need a pair of boots for cold climate, where you need some protection but not necessarily the level steel toe offers? A relatively new feature in a lot of boots are composite toes which are made from plastics, carbon fibers, and rubber as opposed to steel. These composites don’t conduct heat as well, keeping your toes warm in cold climates, and they are lighter. However, they do offer less protection, so if you need the extra protection, steel is the way to go. Just, maybe wear a warmer pair of socks when it’s cold. A good pair of composite toe boots are the Tactical Research Flyweight. They are relatively inexpensive at $120 and have a side zip feature that allows you to put them on and take them off with ease.
D. Ankle Cut
The cut height of the boot determines the amount of ankle support you get from the boot. For most applications, if the boot covers your ankle and continues a little above, you’ll have enough to keep yourself from rolling your ankle. Some boots are even higher than that for more intensive movement. Personally, I prefer the lower ankle cut boots. They are easy to put on and take off, they give you plenty of ankle support, and they are generally pretty light weight. For a lower cut boot, the 5.11’s ATAC 6” cut boot is a really good choice. They are made from leather and nylon, they are lightweight, and are pretty inexpensive at $90.
ATAC is NOT AR-670-1 authorized, however.
E. Environment and Weather Conditions
A swamp or jungle environment poses a unique set of requirements for all your gear. The most evident of these is the need for waterproofing. When your gear is wet, it is less effective at doing it’s job. This is especially true for your boots which will be in constant contact with mud and water. Additionally, the heat and humidity is going to make you sweat. A lot. So, you want to be prepared for this environment with a pair of boots that are both water repellent and breathe really well. If you’ll be doing a lot of hiking and moving around, you’ll want something nice and lightweight as well. If you’re mostly going to be standing around at a security booth, arch support and comfort are going to be your priority.
In a desert environment, you’re going to want a somewhat light boot that can breathe. Your feet will be getting really hot, and you don’t want them pickling in their own sweat. Therefore, a boot made of synthetics/textiles or a light leather with ventilation. The boot you’ll want for desert is similar to the boot you’ll want for a jungle/swamp environment, but waterproofing will be less important.
In a cold weather environment, you’re going to want a heavier-duty boot with some kind of thermal insulation. A lot of boots designed for this weather type employ gore-tex, a breathable, water repellent fabric that will keep you dry. It is used a lot in cold weather gear in combination with another, warmer fabric. Leather is common for colder weather boots, typically with a fleece lining, and worn with thick, wool socks. If snow is common in the area, you’ll probably want a higher cut as well in order to keep the snow out your boots. Again, keep in consideration the weight. If you’re doing a lot of hiking, lower weight will be preferable. A synthetic leather/polyester blend boot worn in combination with wool socks will be plenty to keep you warm in most situations. A good all around weather resistant boot is the Thorogood Black 6” Boot. It is weather resistant, relatively low cut and light, and only just over $100. They are NOT AR-670-1 authorized, but are great for civilian use.
In summation, unless you’re standing around most of the time while wearing your new boots, you’re going to want something fairly lightweight, something that breathes, and something that will keep you warm in colder environments.
I would recommend taking a look at the Tactical Research Desert Jungle Runner. They are a good quality boot for a little over $100. They’re well padded, very breathable, and feature double and triple reinforced seams. In all, it’s a really great boot for the price.
Lastly, if you are looking for more information on this topic or best military boots for rucking, we recommend our post here: best army boots (we emphasize comfort as the leading metric for the boots covered and deliver a deeper dive analysis on the mentioned boots).
• One of our favorite reviews is on the Nike SFB Field Leather Boot - here is the link: Nike SFB Field Leather Boot
• What about the comparison between rocky c4t vs. nike SFB?
• Our quick guide to best lightweight tactical boot
• Looking for a broad list of authorized boots? No problem, check out this resource: here